Gila monsters used to occasionally bite people who, for example, camped out in the desert, but it's been years since I heard of such a case. If news reports like this one are any indication, it's much more common to get bitten by a pet gila monster. Along with its cousin the Mexican beaded lizard, the Gila has the most medically significant venom yet discovered in a lizard.
During his sentencing hearing Tuesday, Derek Nathaneal Castaneda, 34, was also ordered to pay the Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Preservation Fund $1,000 and attend 52 Alcoholics Anonymous classes, according to city prosecutors.
Castaneda was convicted of unlawful possession of a native California reptile species and the unlawful keeping of a wild reptile without a permit. He was on probation at the time for an earlier DUI case, according to the City Attorney's Office.
State officials were notified Jan. 12 that Castaneda had been attacked by the Gila monster, had lost consciousness and had to be taken to a hospital, according to prosecutors.